How to clean soot stains from walls

Written by corey m. mackenzie
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Soot stains from fireplace mishaps, hob mishaps, wood stoves or even serious fires can be cleaned, leaving the wall behind the stain almost like new. Your first impulse in treating these stains may be to use soap and water. Don't start this way or you will end up with a sooty mess. One very important thing to remember with this type of cleaning is you must start dry. Wetting the soot prematurely can make it sink more deeply into the wall's surface. Leave the liquid cleaners for later.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Protective gloves
  • Dry soot sponges
  • Protective eye wear
  • Liquid wall cleaner for soot
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Regular sponges
  • Clean towel

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    How to Clean Soot Stains From Walls

  1. 1

    Put on protective gloves. Press one edge of a dry cleaning soot sponge to the top of the soot stain.

  2. 2

    Pull the sponge down, in a straight-line, swiping motion. Turn the sponge over to the clean side and do the same to the area right next to the one you just sponged.

  3. 3

    Wipe down the entire soot-stained area with the sponges. Switch to new, clean sponges and wipe off again until the sponges no longer pick up visible soot.

  4. 4

    Put on protective eye wear (you don't want cleaner splashed in your eyes). Mix liquid wall cleaner for soot with water in a bucket. These cleaners can usually be diluted to various strengths--read the label carefully.

  5. 5

    Wet a regular kitchen sponge in the wall-cleaning solution. Wash the wall down, using the same downward strokes you used with the soot sponge. Rinse the sponge as often as necessary to remove soot, or alternate with a clean sponge.

  6. 6

    Wipe the wall down with a dry towel. Open doors and windows to ventilate the room and aid drying.

Tips and warnings

  • Dry chemical sponges can be split in half lengthwise. Doing this, to expose extra clean sides, can reduce the number of sponges you must use.
  • Home improvement stores almost always carry soot-removal sponges and liquid cleaners.
  • Soot is difficult to get out of clothing. You might consider wearing old clothing, or disposable clothing (like the disposable white suits worn by professionals).
  • Do not dampen the chemical sponges. They lose their efficacy when wet.
  • Soot can contain toxic chemicals. Wear gloves when cleaning and avoid inhaling soot particles.

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